AEW Dynamite: Grand Slam Preview for September 22, 2021
This event has been greatly anticipated since AEW first announced an event for the Arthur Ashe Stadium back in June. As the largest arena All Elite Wrestling has run to date, speculation ran rampant as to just what bouts would be contested inside the Queens, NY venue, and as the date drew closer, with one huge arrival after another into AEW locker room, there has been so much anticipation for this September night. Now, with the event finally at hand, this is a collection of bouts that could headline any pay-per-view around the world, and truly display why AEW is the premier home for professional wrestling.
Between the Omega versus Danielson Dream Match, Ruby Soho's title challenge against Dr. Britt Baker, and the Cody/Malakai grudge match, it's already a loaded event, but that's not all! On top of that, Sting returns to action alongside Darby Allin to battle former AEW World Tag Champions FTR, Brian Pillman Jr. aims to shut the disrespectful mouth of MJF, and CM Punk will address the crowd 48 hours prior to his first televised match since January 2014. Be sure join in when the action kicks off LIVE at 8pm EST/7pm CST on TNT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our International fans!
DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM is going to be one of the most exciting nights in the near-two year history of DYNAMITE, and you can get up to speed with all the latest happenings in AEW by subscribing to the official YouTube channel with highlights from DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the latest editions of DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, and the ROAD TO editions!
THE DREAM MATCH...
AEW World Champion Kenny Omega
“The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson
It is a label bandied about in professional wrestling about as liberally as “legend”, but with the nature of the beast, there are increasingly few of those matches left available that live up to the moniker, and most of them are ones that just seem an impossibility due to location, promotion, or some other situation such as time. Often those “dream match” scenarios are discussed in what-if scenarios between generations like Mike Tyson fighting Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and LeBron James squaring up in the paint, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf trading forehands, or Steve Austin wrestling CM Punk.
But sometimes the stars align perfectly, sometimes the pieces all fall into place, and two of the greatest at their craft get an opportunity to see who is the better competitor. This Wednesday night, when DYNAMITE airs from the hallowed ground of Arthur Ashe Stadium, and in front of the largest attendance in AEW's history, the world will witness just such a moment when “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson steps into the AEW ring for the very first time to face AEW World Champion Kenny Omega one-on-one!
Only a single time in their storied careers have these two men locked up one-on-one, and that was over a dozen years ago between two very different competitors, especially in the case of Kenny Omega. In 2009, inside Reseda's legendary American Legion Post #308, Omega was still years removed from earning his “Best Bout Machine” label while Danielson was already in the conversations for “greatest of all time”. Kenny, while supremely talented, had not yet developed into a competitor worthy of being in that rarified air but still gave Danielson a run for his money over 20-plus minutes before succumbing to “The American Dragon”.
A short five months later, it seemed that any possibility of ever seeing a rematch became fantasy booking, but that did not stop fans around the world from dreaming of such an occurrence, especially as the lore of Omega grew from his exploits in DDT, AJPW, and NJPW. His championship successes as a solo competitor, as a tag team alongside Kota Ibushi, or as a trio with The Young Bucks built his resume up, causing pundits and fans alike to take notice of Kenny's exponential growth. His inclusion in The Bullet Club, and usurping of AJ Styles' position in the group, skyrocketed his profile on an international scale, and his growing list of Match Of The Year accomplishments from NIKKAN SPORTS, PRO WRESTLING ILLUSTRATED, TOKYO SPORTS, and the WRESTLING OBSERVER, among others, elevated Kenny Omega into those same discussions Bryan Danielson had been included in for a decade prior. But it was the legendary bouts with Kazuchika Okada, particularly the 6/8/18 bout at NJPW DOMINION, that drove fans and critics to declare Omega as belonging in the Greatest Of All Time conversations.
It is also why so many, including Kenny himself, were seemingly let down by their perception that “The Best Bout Machine” was not who arrived in All Elite Wrestling two years ago. And, as recent history has shown us, the amazing World Tag Team Title reign by Omega and Hangman Page did very little to quell the questioning voices within Omega himself. Those voices, that apparent insecurity about his solo career in AEW, is likely what led him to consider Page dead weight after they lost the titles, to align himself with Don Callis, and to bring in old friends like The Good Brothers to have his back.
Now the path we have all witnessed Kenny Omega cut since winning the AEW World Title late last year at DYNAMITE: WINTER IS COMING has been stellar, to say the least; he beat Jon Moxley in an Exploding Barbwire rematch, beat Rey Fenix, beat Rich Swann in a title-versus-title match to claim the IMPACT Championship for himself, defeated Orange Cassidy and PAC in a Triple Threat, topped Jungle Boy, and put down Christian Cage at ALL OUT 2021. Kenny has eclipsed Jon Moxley's length as AEW World Champion, earned himself the number one spot in the vaunted PWI 500 for 2021, and was voted into the Wrestling Observer Hall Of Fame for 2020, just as Danielson was in 2016.
On the other side of this coin, during a period of the time in which Omega was building himself up into a modern day icon, Danielson was fighting with every breath in his body to get back to the sport he loves after being forced into retirement for two years. The climb back into the fight was rough, draining, and required a great deal of soul searching, but all the trials and tribulations it took to get back into the ring were worth it for Bryan. And over the course of the next several years, Danielson demonstrated to the world that he was still one of the greatest professional wrestlers of his generation, if not all time, and likely better than ever before thanks to the time off for his body and mind to heal.
So with Bryan's return to active competition, and Kenny Omega having ascended to heights far greater than ever expected a dozen years prior, the fantasy booking of a Danielson/Omega dream match became a topic of “What If” scenarios around wrestling fandom, and even in the locker rooms around the world. Still, with both men operating in different parts of the wrestling landscape, the “fantasy” in fantasy booking remained, the rematch an elusive dream never to come to fruition.
Then, at ALL OUT 2021 when Bryan Danielson arrived on the AEW stage, that all changed and what was once though an unobtainable dream became a very, very probable reality! And it was very clear from his words and actions that The American Dragon's primary goal in All Elite Wrestling was to deliver on bringing that dream to life!
So it is with great anticipation that this Wednesday night, in the main event of AEW's biggest audience to date, live on worldwide television from the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson will make wrestling dreams come true! It will be Danielson's first match inside an AEW ring, and even without the AEW World Championship on the line, one of the most important bouts in either man's career. It is Danielson versus Omega, and it can only be experienced in All Elite Wrestling, LIVE on TNT for DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM!
AEW WOMEN'S WORLD TITLE MATCH...
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D (c)
ALL OUT 2021was the site of numerous monumental moments, be it the first CM Punk match in seven years, the arrivals of Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole, or the top shelf title matches that went down over the course of the evening. One of the biggest moments of that evening in Chicago, and certainly one fans were desperately hoping would take place, was the arrival of Ruby Soho as the Joker Card of the Women's Casino Battle Royale!
Emerging into All Elite Wrestling accompanied by the Rancid song that bears her name, Ruby Soho hit the ring with the fury of a woman who had been caged up for far too long, and when the final two women standing where her and Thunder Rosa, the energy was palpable. For three electric minutes the two competitors battled to see who would be the next to challenge Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D for the AEW Women's World Title she successfully defended against Kris Statlander earlier in the evening, and ultimately, to a joyous response from the crowd and an elated on herself, Soho dumped out Rosa to earn the title opportunity.
The emotional embrace delivered to referee Bryce Remsburg by Ruby when the realization of victory set in encapsulated just how much this moment meant to her, but the celebration couldn't last forever, and the work began immediately the following Wednesday. That night Soho issued the challenge herself, and the opponent for the evening would be the Good Doctor's heavy, Jamie Hayter.
As seen in that video, Soho's attempt to give Bryce another celebratory hug was spoiled by Baker and her cronies, but Riho and Kris Statlander were thankfully there for the save, and that directly led to the trios bout on RAMPAGE two days later. Once again Soho, along with Statlander and the original AEW Women's World Champion, was victorious but this time with Rebel once again being sacrificed by Baker.
The war of words between champion and challenger that went down last Friday night on RAMPAGE certainly saw no punches pulled, and that will absolutely be the case on DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM when the Women's World Title is on the line in front of the largest house in AEW's history! Can Ruby Soho achieve the dream so soon into her AEW tenure, or will Dr. Britt Baker and her cronies find a way to halt the momentum of the challenger and once more emerge as champion from her fourth title defense?
A NIGHTMARE UNLEASHED...
“The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes
The destruction of The Nightmare Family; that has appeared to be the goal of Malakai Black from the moment he arrived in AEW back at ROAD RAGER. It began with felling Arn Anderson and Cody Rhodes in the same night back in Miami, and then continuing to do the same to “The American Nightmare” at every turn until they finally met inside the ring at DYNAMITE: HOMECOMING 2021.
It was to the shock of everyone in attendance, those watching on TV, and most especially Cody himself, when Black decisively decimated Rhodes in under five minutes. Still that was not the most shocking thing that night in Jacksonville, it was trumped by the aftermath in which Rhodes appeared ready to hang up his boots and retire, but was interrupted in mid-speech by another vicious Malakai assault. Black even took one of Cody's boots with him as a trophy that night, leaving “The American Nightmare” broken in the squared circle.
Yet even after laying low the patriarch of The Nightmare Family, Malakai Black was not done as he took out Brock Anderson, Lee Johnson, and Dustin Rhodes over the course of the last month. He crushed the rookie Anderson in rapid fashion, sadistically took his time with Lee Johnson to send a message, and had a tremendous fight with the veteran Rhodes before we got to this day.
That onslaught on the Nightmare Family likely would have continued until nothing was left standing if not for Cody Rhodes finally returning to the fold last week as seen in the highlight embedded above. Their match for this Wednesday night had already been announced, so it was a reasonable assumption that that would be the next time “The American Nightmare” would show up in an AEW arena. Thankfully for Rosario Dawson, who the master of The House Of Black singled out in Newark, Rhodes arrived and an arena encompassing brawl broke out ahead of their return bout at DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM!
Will it be the head of The Nightmare Family who emerges from the shadows as the victory on Wednesday? Or will Malakai Black once more turn out the lights of “The American Nightmare” and drape him in darkness? Tune into TNT this Wednesday night to watch it play out!!!
MJF (w/ Wardlow)
Brian Pillman Jr
Just when you think Maxwell Jacob Friedman had sunk as absolutely low as possible, AEW came to Cincinnati for the very first time and Max, irate from his loss to Chris Jericho at ALL OUT 2021, lashed out at not just the city, but also at the Pillman family at ringside:
As if that wasn't bad enough, MJF's verbal diarrhea would only escalate a week later:
But Max can't run this week, he can't backpedal out of the ring and have Wardlow take up his battle for him, at Arthur Ashe it is time for MJF to pay the piper! Next to his TNT Title match against Miro, this is the biggest match of Brian Pillman Jr's career in AEW in terms of profile, but in terms of personal stakes and emotion, this is certainly the most important night in Brian's career since the moment he laced up his boots for the first time.
With the honor of his family at stake, Brian Pillman enters into Queens not only looking to live up to his father's legacy, but also to continue building his own by shutting MJF's mouth for at least one night. It's a huge opportunity for one-half of The Varsity Blonds, and the fans will be behind him all the way!
TAG TEAM BATTLE...
FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood w/ Tully Blanchard)
Darby Allin & Sting
Last week, in the aftermath of Darby Allin's victory over Shawn Spears, FTR hit the ring behind Sting and Allin. Having just come off a victory earlier in the night over Matt Sydal and Dante Martin, the former AEW World Tag Champions were clearly there for one reason, and one reason only, to make an impact on the skulls of the the face-painted pair.
The fight ensued immediately, and although Darby was coming out of a hard-fought bout that included Spears disrespectfully wiping the paint from the former TNT Champion's face, Darby still did his best to assist his legendary mentor. It was all for naught though as Tully Blanchard almost comedically swinging a chair into Sting's back left The Icon open for an all-out assault by Cash and Dax, that concluded with a spike piledriver on the legend. Adding insult to injury, following in the footsteps of their Pinnacle ally, FTR and Tully wiped the facepaint off of the debilitated Sting and left him in a heap.
But the opportunity for retribution comes fast, and this Wednesday night at GRAND SLAM, Sting and Darby Allin will get a chance to even the score with FTR in front of AEW's largest crowd ever! With Tully Blanchard in their corner, FTR certainly has an edge in the numbers game, but after the disrespect shown to Allin and Sting last week, their rage may just even those odds!
WHEN PUNK SPEAKS...
On Friday night's edition of RAMPAGE, that will also emanate from Arthur Ashe Arena, CM Punk will lock horns with Team Taz's Powerhouse Hobbs, marking The Best In The World's first televised match in over seven years! Now following the attack perpetrated upon him last week by Hobbs and Hook, Punk will no doubt have plenty on his mind 48 hours before that landmark contest. Tune into DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM starting Wednesday night at 8pm EST/7pm CST to hear what Punk has to get off his chest!
The table is set for Wednesday night to be the biggest night in the near-two year history of DYNAMITE, and with all the action fans have experienced, that is saying quite a lot! GRAND SLAM begins LIVE at 8pm EST/7pm CST on TNT, as well as at AEWPlus.com, and is a not to be missed episode! Be sure to prepare for it all with a visit to the official AEW YouTube channel for the latest editions of DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, and the ROAD TO editions, as well as highlights from DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE!